The critical essay may employ a wide variety of approaches and rhetorical strategies. It should demonstrate expert understanding of the discipline, reflect critically on practice, and locate the work in relation to current theory and criticism. Appropriate approaches include (1) a reflection on an issue germane to creative writing practice, such as the processes or techniques of creative writing within a genre or within the creative project; or (2) an examination of the contexts and conditions of the candidate’s creative writing or the critical, industrial, or historical issues relevant to the candidate’s creative project; or (3) an exploration of a scholarly issue of genre, theory, representation, or themes in other creative works of demonstrated relevance to the candidate’s creative project. The critical essay is typically between 20,000 and 30,000 words in length, including footnotes and appendices but excluding a list of cited works.
If experimentation within the creative doctorate is to continue in congruence with the aim of publication, then it seems reasonable to suggest that popular genres could be reframed within the academy as possible new sites of radical engagement. This does not mean the end of more traditional exegesis-plus-creative-work models; quite the opposite. There is an opportunity to expand the horizons of the creative writing thesis to bring the literary to the popular, the popular to the academic, and stylistic equality to the award.
SAMPLE PROPOSAL FOR CREATIVE WRITING THESIS PROJECTS (FICTION)
Creative Writing majors interested in graduating with honors must have a 3.5 GPA and should apply for the honors option during their sophomore year or at the beginning of their junior year. The option requires the completion, submission, and approval of a creative writing thesis, supervised by a two-person committee, and enrollment in the honors thesis seminar designated for Creative Writing majors (ENGL 4250).